What is Canada Self-Employed Persons Program?

The Canadian Self-Employed Persons Program is aimed at those who have relevant experience in cultural activities, athletics or farm management. Applicants must also have the intention and ability to establish a business that will, at a minimum, create employment for themselves. Applicants must also make a significant contribution to cultural activities or athletics or purchase and manage a farm in Canada. The Canada Self-Employed Persons Program is available to new immigrants through CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada). With a wide range of occupational streams, this is a program designed to bring new immigrants to Canada who plans to be self-employed. Amongst the many admissibility requirements, there are some fundamental pre-requisites that will pertain to all applicants:

A relevant level of experience in either athletics or cultural activities and a capability to contribute to the athletic life or cultural life in Canada or an appropriate level of experience and expertise in farm management and an intention and capacity to buy/manage a farm in some part of Canada.

Canada Self-Employed Persons Program making a significant contribution

The application guidelines and immigration criteria for Canada self-employed persons program will make a significant contribution in their particular field of endeavor. As such, CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) does not formally define the term significant contribution. However, immigration officers will use personal judgment to assess the merits of each immigrant application. For instance, a significant contribution to athletics or culture may be considered significant, even if it is somewhat less than a nationally recognized standard.

Canada’s Start-up Visa Program application prerequisites

Canada’s Start-up Visa Program is a unique immigration program specifically for self- employed. It has been designed for entrepreneurs who wish to immigrate to Canada and build a business that creates jobs for Canadians. To participate in the program, CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) requires an applicant to meet certain conditions: a Letter of Support from a designated funder; ownership verification for a qualifying business; required levels of Language Benchmark in English or French; and adequate funds to live in Canada before realizing any income.

Special immigration programs for business people in Quebec

The province of Quebec has special immigration rules, regulations, and procedures. Immigrants applying in Quebec may be eligible for one of the following immigration programs:

  • Entrepreneur Program – establishing or acquiring a business
  • Investor Program – investing in Quebec economic growth
  • Self-Employed Worker Program – practicing a profession/trade

Selection criteria under the Canada Self-Employed Persons Program

A self-employed person is a foreign national with appropriate experience in a field of endeavor and with the intention of being self-employed once settled in Canada. Applicants should be able to make a meaningful contribution to Canada’s economy.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada assesses applicants according to criteria that include: previous experience in a chosen field, established educational accreditation, age and potential to physically adaptation, language skills (in English or French), medical examinations/security checks and financials wherewithal once landed.

Specific Occupations for Canada self-employed persons program applicants

Beyond specific admissibility requirements, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has categorized occupations that would qualify for application under the Canada Self-Employed Persons Program which include:librarians, curators, archivists, technical supports, writers, translators, journalists, authors, editors, choreographers, producers, directors, associated musical conductors, score arrangers, composers musicians, singers, dancers, actors, comedians painters, visual artists, sculptors, and craftspeople, photographers and film and video camera operators, technical personnel for museums and/or art galleries, graphic designers, illustrators, interior designers, support occupations in broadcasting/motion pictures, athletes, sports officials, coaches, referees and instructors.

Eligibility: Employment, funds, and points

There are several eligibility criteria for this visa, applicants must:

  • Demonstrate at least 2 years experience of self-employment in cultural activities or in athletics, and participation at a world-class level in cultural activities or athletics, or farm management experience.
  • Possess sufficient funds to support their family upon their arrival.
  • Possess the intention and ability to establish a business that will generate self-employment.
  • Make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada or purchase and manage a farm in Canada.
  • Earn sufficient points in the selection factors to meet the pass mark. The selection factors include points awarded for:
    • Education
    • Proficiency in Canadian official languages (English and French)
    • work experience
    • Age
    • Adaptability factors (such as the ability to retrain)

Eligibility: Language skills

Applicants must have reasonable proficiency in English, or French, or both languages. To prove these applicants must provide test results from:

  • The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
  • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • The Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF)

Self-Employed Program in Quebec only

The Quebec Self-Employed Program is geared towards applicants who will generate their own employment by practicing an occupation for which they possess previous experience.

Eligibility: Employment and funds

In order to apply under this program, applicants must:

  • Have at least two years of experience in the occupation they intend to pursue in Quebec (which is not limited to athletics, cultural activities, or farm management like the Canadian program)
  • Have a minimum net worth of $100,000 CDN of legally acquired funds (The applicant’s spouse’s funds count towards this total)
  • Have the intention and ability to create their own employment by pursuing their occupation in Quebec.